Garrisson Keillor fired for sexual misconduct

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by bostjan, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Keillor was, for decades, host of A Prairie Home Companion, and until just recently, The Writer's Almanac.

    NPR announced this morning that he had been fired over "allegations of misconduct." According to Keillor, the incident was over patting a woman on the back and his hand slipping "about six inches" down under her garment.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/life...a1256c-d52c-11e7-b62d-d9345ced896d_story.html

    Minnesota Public Radio has refused to comment.

    It might be worth noting, as well, that Keillor made some public comments in defense of Al Franken in light of his own alleged misconduct, which were published just before the lawyer for the woman alleging inappropriate behaviour contacted Keillor's employer.

    Personally, I don't know, and I don't want to come off as claiming to know one way or the other about what is going on here. On the surface, Keillor's account strikes me as a little weird, seeing as how I've never had my hand accidentally slip six inches under someone's clothes, also, I'm not sure how patting someone on the back, as Keillor seems to be hinting was a sort of "there there" gesture, could be taken as a sexual advance, even if some clumbsiness happened.

    With public figures being accused of stuff like this, we don't need to know the identity of the victim, or alleged victim, if you will, but it would be nice to know some basic information about what was alleged, if corrective action is taken, and if the alleged transgression(s) are too loosely supported to provide these details, maybe the person should be suspended rather than fired outright, until things can be investigated.

    To be frank, you nnever want to take sides in a he-said/she-said issue like this until there are some facts, as in something to which both parties agree, something substantiated by evidence, or even a preponderance of testimonies that provide a consistent story. Maybe my opinion is out of bounds in today's day and age, though.
     
  2. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    To be clear, MPR hired a law firm to conduct the investigation. I believe the firing occurred in the wake of that investigation.

    In other words, just because MPR hasn't released the full story doesn't mean there isn't much there. I suspect there is much more.
     
  3. KnightBrolaire

    KnightBrolaire 8 string hoarder

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    I would doubt this was an isolated incident. I was just reading about matt lauer and what kind of things he supposedly did (gave a coworker a sex toy as a gift with a note about how he wanted to use it on her, used his position to bang interns/production teammembers by threatening their job security, exposing himself to said interns/production workers in his office, making salacious commments on a regular basis, and sexting an intern back in 2014 for several months, who filed a lawsuit against him). Based off of what Keillor said about how he gave her both a verbal/written apology right after the event happened/ claiming she was a friend, I find it suspect that he would be fired for only that incident.
     
  4. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yeah, his side of the story doesn't add up to me.

    ( https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo...ropriate-behavior-minnesota-public-radio-says )

    MPR had confirmed yesterday morning that this was an isolated incident, which I found also puzzling, but later yesterday afternoon, it was reported that there was a second incident involving another person:

    So, good insight on that.

    Also, the last part of the quote strikes me as moderately eyebrow raising. :spock: Why should he feel lucky that the allegations came at this time? It could be because

    a) he thinks this is backlash over his defense of Franken, and thus thought this was an inevitable political setup
    b) he was expecting these women to come forward eventually, because he felt he had done something wrong, and thus is/feels guilty

    Back in the 2000's, Keillor was making some allegations of his own, I only vaguely recall the details, but it was something about security guards intimidating him, then everybody who was there around the time frame of the alleged incident started turning up saying that nothing happened.

    It might be the case where MPR doesn't want to give details because they would be damning for Keillor, and it'd be detrimental to them in two ways:

    a) directly, by receiving more negative attention out of this
    b) indirectly, because Keillor could potentially bring legal action against them.

    OR...

    Maybe he's clear of wrongdoing.

    I'm not leaning either way yet, except that I tend not to believe MPR after they announced there were no similar allegations right around the same time Keillor mentioned that there were two people making allegations, but then, I tend not to put too much concrete into Keillor's words, since he has a history of making up wild-sounding stories as fiction, and, at least in one case, a wild-sounding story that was presented as factual, but ended up with a half-dozen or more eyewitnesses contradicting him outright.

    :confused:

    The part of this that has my interest is the fact that Keillor is going around saying that he patted a woman on the back and she, years after the fact, alleged sexual misconduct relating to that incident, and no one else*, so far, is publicly saying "Umm, no, that's not what's going on here," on the contrary, MPR seems to be kind of nodding as if in agreement.

    *this is part of the interesting part, too, is that Keillor's own mention as quoted above, that there was another person involved really contradicts his story of the whole pat-on-the-back-gone-wrong thing. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but how on Earth is this all about a pat on the back in an isolated incident if there is another person also making allegations? Or is it a person who came forward just to say that they witnessed the pat-on-the-back-gone-wrong and said it was inappropriate, in which case, I have another set of questions entirely...

    Personally, I'm not a touchy person. I don't like touching people, especially people at work, and I don't like it when they touch me, especially people at work, but it happens to me anyway. I've had tons of supervisors and managers who would put a hand on my shoulder (one manager, years ago, who made a habit of grabbing my elbow, instead, but same thing), for whatever reason. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean I'm going to go and report these people to HR. Just because their hand on my shoulder makes me uncomfortable, doesn't make it a sexual thing. I guess all of this makes me worried that it could be a sex thing, even <1% of the time, and that just makes me icky. It's not that I believe that story, it's more that I heard the story and then saw that no one immediately challenged it, so I have to entertain the possibility of believing the story.
     
  5. synrgy

    synrgy Ya ya ya I am Lorde

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    Sexual misconduct or not, it's probably for the best that he won't have an opportunity to do another 'Tom & Sally' sort of routine.
     
  6. synrgy

    synrgy Ya ya ya I am Lorde

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    Though, more on-topic, and as a side, I do think there have always been cases, and that there will continue to be cases, in which someone applies the 'sexual harassment' label to a seemingly benign situation, because reasons.

    Anecdotally: I got reprimanded at work a few years back because a co-worker reported me for 'sexual harassment'. The context:

    A group of about 6 co-workers were standing around a monitor, on which they had a video of another (not present) co-worker on pause, laughing and making jokes about his paused, mid-sentence facial expression. This went on for several minutes, then I joined in: "That's his O-face!" (referencing the line from Office Space).

    Now, in hindsight, obviously that wasn't a smart reference to make in a work situation, but while I learned from that, I still assert that the 'wrong' in that situation was a bunch of people having laughs at a co-worker's expense; not me quoting a line from an extremely popular, cultural touchstone of a comedy film.

    Anyway, not to suggest that this applies to Keillor's situation either way; only to suggest as a side that the present zeitgeist is (arguably) a little too quick to apply the label of 'sexual harassment', and/or to presume that accusation = guilt.
     
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  7. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Oh, I know very well that things can and do get taken the wrong way, and even that some people (by all means not most, but >0% of the time) make shit up to get people in trouble over something that is flat out a lie.

    And I think that films and media in general can be blamed for a lot of this. Films and shows depict sexual harrassment in a "funny" light often times, and that seems to have had an influence on people who lived through the 70's 80's and 90's, when few people treated the issue with respect. And now, maybe it's getting a little overcorrected, or maybe not. If patting someone on the shoulder is henceforth going to be equivalent to plowing a 20 year old intern on top of the copy machine in the office, then I think we've made a grave misstep as a society. If an old man can do something inappropriate with a coworker and gets fired, but leads the public to believe that it was just a pat on the back, that's a different problem, but still a problem for society, I believe.

    I am excited that we, in the USA, are having this conversation, as it desperately needs to happen. I'm routing for justice to prevail in the end of this conversation, but with all things, we need to take the conversation seriously and thing about as many angles of this as possible, so that we don't end up right back here a few years from now, you know?

    Should an employee be reprimanded for making an inappropriate comment unknowingly? Well, I think there's an inappropriate way of doing this as well. The best way to approach it, IMO, is to mention that the comment was inapproriate to the person directly. I think that any time there is an issue of most sorts between two employees, it should first be brought up on a one-to-one basis. If I piss off a coworker, let him or her tell me to my face. Where this might not be appropriate is in cases of threats or threatening behaviour, and also in cases where one employee is superior to the other in the chain of command, because, in any of those cases, it's not safe for one party to approach the other in this manner.

    Probably if your coworker was offended by everyone making jokes about him, he took it out on you because you made the joke that came closest to crossing the line. If you would have said the same about me, I don't even think it would have made me uncomfortable in a situation as you described, but, just as some people like me are less comfortable than others with otherwise benign physical contact, some might be more sensitive than other to verbal prodding. The thing is that we never know a person is uncomfortable with something unless a) it's common for people to be uncomfortable with that or b) the person explicitly lets us know. Either way it's about social norms and it's about communication. Since we are having a conversation, socially, about social norms and communication as it pertains to appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in the workplace, this is a great example. Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. thraxil

    thraxil cylon

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    Yeah. Definitely not hearing the full story. You don't fire someone for patting a woman on the back. If they did an investigation and fired him, there's probably more to it. He doesn't really seem to be mounting a strong defense either. Don't know if we'll ever hear more though. There's basically no upside and a lot of downsides to either MPR or Keillor saying anything else. The best case scenario for all of them is for him to go away and for this whole thing to fade out of the public view.
     
  9. synrgy

    synrgy Ya ya ya I am Lorde

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    I think I mentioned, but understand if it got lost in the process: The co-worker being joked about wasn't present - he had been previously filmed, and my team was editing the video he was in, when - while paused - they started joking about his paused face.

    The person who reported me was a (necessarily anonymous) participant in the joke-making. In other words, whoever this person was, thought it was totally acceptable to point, laugh, and degrade an un-present co-worker's physical appearance, but that it was 'sexual harrassment' for me to quote 'O-face' from Office Space in that same moment.

    I was encouraged by the way the company handled it. They could have brushed the accuser off, but they didn't. At the same time, their ultimate message to me was more that of a "hey, Guy, we like that movie too, but, be a little more careful" than a "you could lose your job". My frustration was mostly rooted in two things: 1. That I got reported to management for something so (IMO) benign, and 2. At first, management didn't want to tell me what I had been reported for. I had to convince them that it would be rather difficult to modify my behavior without knowing what aspect(s) of my behavior needed modifying.

    To be clear, though, I think my experience only supports that companies will only fire someone when/if there is enough evidence to support the accusation(s) being made, and/or when the accusation(s) are serious enough to warrant firing.

    TL;DR = Probably already understood, but: It's not that I think my situation directly correlates to any of the recent scandals; it's just that I have a hard time not thinking about how close I came to carrying a label I don't feel I earned, as these allegations continue to pour out of the woodwork.
     
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  10. wankerness

    wankerness SS.org Regular

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    In the current flurry of firings, you MIGHT! Just because YOU wouldn't and companies wouldn't have a year ago doesn't meant it's impossible now, especially considering MPR is the face of gentle liberalism in that state and thus have to take the hardest line possible to avoid offending their listeners, who are most definitely not like say, Alabama voters who wouldn't have cared if Keillor was a serial rapist. I hate the scorched earth policy on this bs. Not only are they firing him, but they're yanking all reruns of anything he was involved in (cause you can't have people deciding for themselves whether they want to listen to it or not), and changing the name of Prairie Home Companion even though it's been a different person's show for a while now. I would COMPLETELY understand if this was over something really horrible. But, the only information we have so far is Keillor's statement, and MPR's statement (which backs up his account in some ways by saying "we received one complaint ever and it was for 'improper behavior' alone." And I really don't think it's much of a conspiracy theory to think he was fired just as much for his article the previous DAY and this was used as an excuse to make it look less bad. Having him as a defender of that was pretty unacceptable for their image, too.

    Regardless I am getting really sick of this garbage taking the media spotlight over things like the gigantic monster of a tax bill that will actually negatively affect everyone's lives in the country. Last time I looked at the Fox News site there were SIXTEEN stories about Matt Lauer and ZERO on that bill on their front page. Give it a week people, jesus christ.
     
  11. bostjan

    bostjan MicroMetal Contributor

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    Yeah...I think we can agree that Fox News isn't really going to report too many things that matter in the grand scheme of things.

    Speaking of public radio and the tax bill, though - My local public radio was broadcasting a debate between a republican strategist and a democratic strategist over the tax bill and it was at first hilarious, but then it was really frightening. The republican strategist wanted to debate about anything other than the tax bill. I think I only heard maybe three remarks that related directly to the tax bill from him. The logic behind this tax bill is so fubar that it makes me visibly angry anytime I hear anyone defending it.

    Our economy is not in the shitter, but it's just failing to get itself back up on its feet after Bush bent the nation over for eight years. And Obama's stimulus package was more of a bandaid than a long-term fix, it appears. But how does it make any sense to raise taxes on the poor and cut taxes for big companies right now? Trickle-down economics has been tested before and failed miserably, so what makes this different? Because stupid people believe in it more now? Guess what, they believed in it back then, too. This is a huge mistake, but the republican strategist on the radio was 100% confident that it will work - not only that, but he had no interest in listening to anything anyone had to say to prove otherwise, no matter how factual or logical it was. And - well, that pretty much sums up US politics in the 21st century. There are two sides, and the different sides never have >0 interest in what the other side has to say under any circumstances.
     
  12. narad

    narad SS.org Regular

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    !? That's insane.
     

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